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Physical Therapy and Speech-Language Students Team Up for Interprofessional Education Experience

Katharine Yamulla and Elli Levy during Interprofessional Education Experience

The Departments of Physical Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology in the School of Health Sciences and Practice found lots to talk about at their first interprofessional education (IPE) event at the Clinical Skills and Simulation Center on January 24. Forty-three Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) students and 39 speech-language pathology (SLP) master’s students completed two standardized patient experiences as part of an interprofessional team of two to four students. A total of 18 experiences were completed involving four standardized patients and 13 faculty members, who remotely observed the encounters and provided feedback. The standardized patient simulation provided diagnostic scenarios in both an ICU and a general inpatient unit where D.P.T. and SLP students collaborated to provide sensitive, respectful, safe and effective patient care. Shared decision making and effective interpersonal communication between SLP and D.P.T. students were also emphasized.

a group of students team up for interprofessional education experienceKathleen Franklin, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, associate professor and chair of the Department of Speech-Language Pathology, and associate professor for Center on Disability and Health, and Michael J. Majsak, P.T., Ed.D., associate professor and chairman of the Department of Physical Therapy, and their teams, and Katharine Yamulla, top photo left, director of the Clinical Skills and Simulation Center, collaborated to get the program off the ground.

“It was a pleasure for the SLP faculty to work with our colleagues in physical therapy to develop our IPE simulation cases. It was a learning experience for all of us and we are ready to explore more opportunities to support IPE initiatives within the NYMC community,” said Dr. Franklin. Dr. Majsak agreed and added, “It was a great opportunity to extend our previous initiatives in IPE with speech-language and medical students in the areas of medical ethics, musculoskeletal screening, and child development, into the realm of clinical simulation. We are looking forward to ongoing opportunities to educate our D.P.T. students to be part of a health professions team.”     

group of professionals at computer stations“Our IPE training was a great way for us to learn more about the role physical therapists play and how we can best collaborate with each other to evaluate and treat the same patient,” said Ellen Kelly, SLP Class of 2019.

Similarly, Molly Jeakle, D.P.T. Class of 2020, confirmed, “The sim center event was a great experience that gave us the opportunity to learn more about our speech-language colleagues’ scope of practice and gave us our first exposure to working as part of a health care team.”  

According to Kristina M. Welsome, M.S.P.T., D.P.T., OCS, CFMT, MTC, assistant professor of physical therapy, and, Eileen Hunsaker, M.S., CCC-SLP, assistant professor of speech-language pathology, who co-chaired the event along with Ms. Yamulla, this was the first interprofessional simulation event with D.P.T. and SLP students at NYMC. Future interprofessional education plans with D.P.T. and SLP students include shared coursework and further simulation events, as well as possible other IPE collaborations with other disciplines on campus.

“It was an informative experience collaborating with the faculty of the Departments of Physical Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology on their inaugural interprofessional education simulation session at the Clinical Skills and Simulation Center,” said Ms. Yamulla. “Bringing a new level of experiential learning to this population of students, as well as providing feedback and debriefing experiences with the faculty and standardized patients, opens the door for these students for their professional careers. It highlights the importance of working with a health care team.”